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Are you hoping to get fit this year? Do you want a leaner, tighter figure? Or just looking for a way to change up your workout routine?

Maybe it’s time for you to try… kettlebells! Just what are kettlebells? Kettlebells are the cannonball-shaped weights with a single handle.

Used as an underground fitness tool in Russia for hundreds of years, kettlebells have only really hit the mainstream fitness scene over the past eight years or so.

Now, they can be found in most gyms – like UQ Sport Fitness Centre – and for good reason! With lots of health benefits associated with kettlebell training, it is well worth including them in your weekly routine.

See for yourself…

1. It’s a great source of cardio

If you love high intensity interval training (HIIT) and all the advantages that come with it, kettlebell training is definitely for you!

Similar to HIIT, kettlebell training consists of short, intensive bursts of energy followed by quick rest periods.

This allows your heartrate to elevate as fast and high as it would from jump training, and for your oxygen intake to increase.

A study by the American Council of Exercise (ACE) found that eight weeks of kettlebell training two times a week improved aerobic capacity by almost 14%.

So, if you are looking to increase or maintain cardiovascular fitness, this type of training is ideal.

2. It builds muscle

As well as being an effective source of cardio, kettlebell training will also provide you with a whole body strength and conditioning workout.

Unlike traditional weights training which isolates particular muscles, kettlebell training targets multiple major muscle groups at once.

Through the actions of lifting and controlling the kettlebell your whole body – especially the core – is forced to contract as a group, allowing you to build both strength and stability.

The result of this is that your whole body will become leaner, more toned and functionally stronger – making day-to-day tasks much easier.

3. You’ll feel the burn

Despite what we’ve been told for years, cardio is not the only way to slim down.

By incorporating weights training into your workout routine you could enjoy a number of positive effects, including a trimmer figure and increased fat loss.

This is due to the fact there is a high metabolic cost from lifting or throwing weights around, particularly when you are using your whole body.

Still not convinced?

The ACE conducted a study to determine just how effective kettlebell training is as a workout.

The study found that kettlebell training can burn up to 400 calories in a 20 minute session (yes!).

That’s a whopping 20 calories a minute – the same that you would burn from running 1.6km in 6 minutes!

4. It’s easier on your body

Kettlebell routines are usually designed so there is a smooth flow from one exercise to the next.

These smooth transitions and fluid movements make it feel more natural for your body to move through the steps.

This reduces the amount of tension that is placed on your joints, something many people experience during traditional weight training sessions.

However, to reap these benefits, good form is essential.

So if you are looking to get in to kettlebell training (as we certainly are), then take a session with a PT first to learn the correct technique. Your body will thank you later!

5. It’s great for your posture

In an age where the majority of our time is spent either hunched at a desk or in front of a computer, it’s difficult to maintain (or in my case, even have) good posture.

As a result of this, the two most important muscles in our posterior chain, the gluteus maximus and the latissimus dorsi (AKA your glutes and lats), go unused.

Luckily, kettlebell training can change this!

Kettlebell training activates these dormant muscles – which must be stabilised to ensure correct form – and strengthens them.

This is achieved by using your glutes to forcefully lock out the hips, and by completing movements that have your body upright and extended, with your chest open. Trust us, you’ll be standing taller in no time!

Kettlebell training can help you increase your cardiovascular capacity, get stronger, lose weight and improve your posture.

With so many benefits, it is difficult to think of a reason not to include kettlebells in your workout.

And if you can think of one, I will leave you with this: ever wonder how Jennifer Anniston maintains such a rockin’ bod or how Gerard Butler gained his for the movie 300? Kettlebells.